Sat May 30 10:00pm ET
In this Feb. 3, 2020 file photo NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference in Miami. The NFL has set protocols for reopening team facilities and has told the 32 teams to have them in place by May 15. In a memo sent by Goodell and obtained Wednesday, May 6, 2020 by The Associated Press, several phases of the protocols were laid out. The first phase would involve a limited number of non-player personnel, initially 50 percent of the non-player employees (up to a total of 75) on any single day, being approved to be at the facility. But state or local regulations could require a lower number. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, file)
NEW YORK (AP) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says “there remains an urgent need for action” following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the protests around the country that have followed.
From New York to Los Angeles and several cities in between, thousands protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men. Floyd was a handcuffed black man who died Monday after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.
Officer Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd’s death and the ensuing protests have prompted many sports figures - including athletes, coaches and league officials -- to speak out in recent days.
“As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league,” Goodell said in his statement Saturday. “These tragedies inform the NFL’s commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society.
“We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners.”
Goodell added that the protesters reactions “reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel.” He also sent condolences to Floyd’s family -- as well as those of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot eight times by narcotics detectives who knocked down her front door on March 13. Arbery, who was the cousin of Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker, was a 25-year-old black man who was shot dead after being pursued by two white men while running in their neighborhood.
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith sent a letter to all of the league's players Saturday, addressing the events around the country.
“The country is hurting, there is uncertainty and there is danger,” Smith wrote. "It is also clear that the pain, while shared by so many, has a history of being (borne) more by some than others. It is as wrong to be willfully ignorant to this pain as it is to use this pain as cover for inflicting pain on others.”
on Twitter, saying he felt “a range of emotions” this week.
“Racism is something that we all must take responsibility to end,” Tretter wrote. “As human beings, we need to identify and challenge prejudice, rather than deny it. Silence in the face of injustice only works to protect and perpetuate that injustice.”
Coach Dwane Casey of the NBA's Detroit Pistons also released a statement.
“Fifty-four years ago, I was an 8-year-old boy living in rural Kentucky when the schools were desegregated,” Casey said. “I walked into a white school where I was not wanted nor welcomed. At that time, there were no cell phones to record my treatment, no cable news stations with 24/7 coverage, no social media to record the reality of the situation or offer support nor condemnation. But I can remember exactly how I felt as an 8-year-old child. I felt helpless. I felt as if I was neither seen, nor heard, nor understood. As I have watched the events unfold in the days following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a city where I coached and once called home, I see how many people continue to feel those same feelings -- helpless, frustrated, invisible, angry. I understand the outrage because it seems the list continues to grow: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. The injustices continue to mount and nothing seems to be changing.
“Fifty-four years later, my son is now 8 years old and I look at the world he is growing up in and wonder, how much has really changed? How often is he judged on sight? Is he growing up in a world where he is seen, and heard, and understood? Does he feel helpless? Will he be treated like George Floyd or Ahmaud Abrey? What have we really done in the last 54 years to make his 8-year-old world better than mine was? We all have to be and do better.”
In Germany, U.S. national soccer player Weston McKennie played for Schalke on Saturday wearing an armband referencing Floyd's death.
The midfielder had the handwritten message “Justice for George” on white tape around his left arm.
“To be able to use my platform to bring attention to a problem that has been going on to long feels good!!!” McKennie wrote on Twitter alongside pictures of himself wearing the armband. “We have to stand up for what we believe in and I believe that it is time that we are heard!”
McKennie’s Schalke team lost 1-0 to Werder Bremen.
May 29th: Quarterback Preview
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen has 17 rushing touchdowns in 27 career starts. Only free-agent QB Cam Newton (Panthers) has had more rushing touchdowns in his first 27 starts.
Fantasy Spin: Despite below average accuracy, Newton has been a high-end fantasy quarterback for much of his career because of his rushing stats. Allen may never reach Newton's level, but his running ability can keep him in the QB1 mix.
Los Angeles Rams WR Robert Woods registered 613 yards after the catch in 2019 - the third-highest total in the league.
Cincinnati Bengals WR John Ross averaged 7.3 yards after the catch in 2019 - tied for the fourth-highest average in the league among players who amassed 50 targets last season.
New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell has enjoyed a target share of between 17 and 18 percent in four of his last five seasons, with the only exception coming in 2015 (15 percent). His 17.3 percent share in 2019 was the second-highest mark of his career.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle has compiled two of the three best seasons for a tight end in terms of producing yards after the catch since at least 2015 over the last two years. His 871 receiving yards after the catch in 2018 are the most by any player over the last five seasons (and 208 more yards than second-place Travis Kelce compiled in 2016), while his 623 receiving yards after the catch in 2019 led all tight ends and trailed only Chris Godwin (629) among all players last season.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt ranked sixth among running backs with 44 targets from Week 10 until the end of the 2019 regular season. Additionally, Hunt's 49 slot snaps also ranked sixth among running backs in the league for the year despite playing only eight games.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley was on track for 66 catches for 853 yards and nine touchdowns on 101 targets prior to the Falcons trading Mohamed Sanu to the New England Patriots following a Week 7 loss. Over his final six games and before succumbing to an abdomen injury that ended his season prior to Week 15, Ridley's 16-game pace over the final six contests was 91 receptions for 1,315 yards and eight touchdowns on 131 targets.
Fantasy Spin: Six games is a relatively small sample, but it provides a bit of rationale to those that believe Ridley could be this year's Chris Godwin. The third-year pro finds himself in a wonderful environment to make it happen, as Julio Jones will continue to command the most respect from defensive coordinators and Atlanta's defense may struggle at times yet again. As such, Ridley should be viewed as a high-end WR2 with WR1 upside.
Denver Broncos TEs Albert Okwuegbunam, Austin Fort and Jake Butt are expected to be competing for two roster spots during training camp. Okwuegbunam is considered a favorite for one of the spots.
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III had 6,000-plus scrimmage yards and two Pro Bowl selections in five seasons with the Chargers, but he thinks the Broncos running scheme is better suited to his strengths as an explosive, downhill runner. Gordon had 2,587 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns in his final year in college in a zone-based offense similar. He had his moments as a perimeter runner with the Bolts, but his straight-line running style is better suited in an offense with more downhill runs. Denver has a zone-based system that's expected to feature more downhill plays under offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. The Broncos plan on using Gordon as their lead back despite Phillip Lindsay's presence, and in an offense better suited to his strengths as a runner, Gordon could be more efficient and give fantasy owners RB1 upside at an RB2 cost.
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson hopefully will try more downfield throws this upcoming season when the team faces one-on-one coverage, according to head coach John Harbaugh. 'Those corners are going to be one-on-one and those safeties are going to be one-on-one against receivers, especially on downfield throws, and we got to make them pay for it,' Harbaugh said. 'I really do believe that's the next step for this offense from an execution standpoint. I really do believe Lamar is going to take the next step and our receivers are going to take the next step.'
Fantasy Spin: Jackson is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and would be an even more valuable fantasy option if he is able to connect on more downfield throws. Hs should be one of the first quarterbacks selected in all drafts and is a must-start option in fantasy leagues.
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks thinks that Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is primed for the best season of his career in new head coach Kevin Stefanski's offense. Cleveland's 12-personnel packages featuring tight ends Austin Hooper and David Njoku, along with receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, and running back Nick Chubb, will be hard to stop. Mayfield averaged 9.0 yards per attempt (third-most in the NFL) in 12-personnel setups last year, and that formation is Stefanski's preference. Mayfield was also much better on play-action passes last year, so the Browns should look to feature those types of plays to take the pressure off the third-year passer. Cleveland's rebuilt offensive line should also give Mayfield better protection in 2020. All of this should add up to Mayfield being much more productive under Stefanski, making him a fine QB2 target with QB1 upside after his disappointing 2019 campaign.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has not yet signed the franchise tender as he seeks a long-term deal from the team. History suggests the sides will come together before the July 15 deadline or Prescott may not be with Dallas beyond this season. Since the franchise tag was introduced in 1993, only eight quarterbacks have been tagged and all but two, Drew Brees in 2005 and Kirk Cousins in 2018, got extensions prior to the season. Prescott is coming off the best season of his four-year career throwing for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns. He enters fantasy draft season as a top-three option at quarterback in fantasy.
Free-agent LB Clay Matthews (Rams) is not receiving interest from the Cleveland Browns at this point.
Cleveland Browns RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt probably will be on the field at the same time on occasion this upcoming season, in the opinion of The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot.
Fantasy Spin: Chubb will continue to receive most of the work at running back this upcoming season, but Hunt was a solid receiver out of the backfield in 2019. Chubb should be a No. 1 running back in fantasy leagues, while Hunt can be a flex option in most leagues and likely will be more valuable in point-per-reception leagues.
Free-agent DE Jadeveon Clowney (Seahawks) is still receiving interest from the Cleveland Browns even though he has not accepted their contract offer at this point.
Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs has only worked with QB Josh Allen during drills at the recent workouts in Florida.
Fantasy Spin: The team has not been able to hold offseason workouts, but Allen and Diggs have found a way to work on building their chemistry. Diggs likely will be the top option in the passing game this upcoming season and should be considered a No. 2 wide receiver in most fantasy leagues.
The Cleveland Browns could release DE Olivier Vernon if the team signs free-agent DE Jadeveon Clowney, in the opinion of 710 ESPN Seattle's John Clayton. The Browns currently have Vernon and Myles Garrett at defensive end and also signed DE Adrian Clayborn earlier this offseason to a one-year, $3.75 million deal.
Baltimore Ravens WR Devin Duvernay is expected to compete with WR Willie Snead for playing time in three-receiver sets.
Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott had 355 touches in 2019, making him the first running back since Ladainian Tomlinson in 2006 and 2007 to have back-to-back seasons with at least 350 touches.
Fantasy Spin: Even with the Cowboys finishing with the second-most passing yards in the league, Elliott still handled a huge workload. The volume alone should keep him firmly in the RB1 mix in 2020.